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World Health Leaders Stress Need For Sharing of Vaccines

Long-time Slashdot reader tomtermite shares a report from The Guardian:
Ministers and officials from every nation will meet via video link on Monday for the annual world health assembly, which is expected to be dominated by efforts to stop rich countries monopolising drugs and future vaccines against Covid-19… The leaders of Italy, France, Germany and Norway, together with the European commission and council, called earlier this month for any innovative tools, therapeutics or vaccines to be shared equally and fairly.

“If we can develop a vaccine that is produced by the world, for the whole world, this will be a unique global public good of the 21st century,” they said in a statement.

The sole resolution before the assembly this year is an EU proposal for a voluntary patent pool. Drug and vaccine companies would then be under pressure to give up the monopoly that patents allow them on their inventions, which means they can charge high prices, so that all countries can make or buy affordable versions. In the weeks of negotiations leading up to the meeting, which is scheduled to last for less than a day, there has been a dispute over the language of the resolution. Countries with major pharmaceutical companies argue they need patents to guarantee sufficiently high prices in wealthy nations to recoup their research and development costs….
Oxfam’s health policy manager, Anna Marriott, said: “This week’s letter calling for a people’s vaccine, which was signed by more than 140 world leaders and experts, sets the bar for the scale of ambition we need to meet the challenge before us….” [Research charity] Wellcome published a poll on Sunday of 2,000 people in the UK which found 96% supported the idea that national governments should work together to ensure that treatments and vaccines can be manufactured in as many countries as possible and distributed globally to everyone who needs them.

“We need vaccines and treatments that will work for the world, and any advances must be available to all countries equally, without exception,” said Alex Harris, the head of global policy at Wellcome.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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